Slow Cooker Birria De Res Tacos Recipe

It's time to elevate your Taco Tuesday cuisine. Instead of relying on the typical ground beef and shredded cheese taco in a store-bought hard shell, take it up a notch by cooking a batch of these birria de res tacos. Birria tacos are known for their flavorful stewy meat served in a crispy shell. We'd recommend completing this meal by serving these tacos with Mexican street corn and refried beans. Now that's a way to celebrate Taco Tuesday!

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone brings us this recipe for birria de res tacos cooked in a slow cooker. Rapone recommends serving these for a crowd. She says "I love making these when we are having guests for dinner on the weekend in the summer. I can get through the step where you blend the sauce before they come over, and get all the toppings prepped. Then, while my guests are hanging out, I'm not spending all my time in the kitchen." 

Gather your ingredients for birria de res tacos

To make these slow cooker birria de res tacos, you must start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need chuck roast, bone-in ribs, salt, ground cumin, black pepper, guajillo chiles, beef broth, white onion, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, Mexican oregano, garlic, ancho chili powder, apple cider vinegar, honey, corn tortillas, chihuahua cheese, cilantro, and lime. If you can't find chihuahua cheese, you can substitute a combination of Monterey Jack and cheddar. 

Cut the meat and season it

First things first, cut down the meat. Cut the chuck roast into 6-8 pieces, making sure to discard the hard chunks of fat. Add the chuck pieces and the ribs into a large bowl. In a separate, small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the salt along with the cumin and black pepper. Stir this combination well before using it to season the meat evenly on all sides. 

Toast the chiles and caramelize the onions

Remove the stems from the chiles and shake out the seeds. On the stovetop, heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until it's hot. Add the chiles and turn them constantly until they're toasted on all sides. 

Now, cut the onion into 6 even pieces and remove the peel. Add 4 of the 6 pieces to the hot skillet, reserving the other 2 pieces for later. Allow the sides of the onions to caramelize, which should take about 3 minutes per side. When they're done, transfer them into your slow cooker.

Slow cook the meat

In addition to the caramelized onion pieces, add the chiles, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, meat, and beef broth to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours to begin to break down the meat and meld the variety of flavors. Rapone tells us "using a slow cooker for large pieces of meat like this, that have a lot of connective tissue and fat, is the perfect cooking method to get really tender results."

Blend the sauce

Once the 3 hours are up, remove the meat from the slow cooker and set it aside. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and discard them. Then, pour the remaining ingredients from the slow cooker into a blender. Add the garlic, ancho chili powder, oregano, vinegar, honey, and remaining salt to the blender. 

Because the ingredients are hot, you'll need to be careful about how you blend them — you shouldn't put a completely sealed lid on the blender. Rather, open the vent hole and place a towel over the hole to prevent the ingredients from escaping. Blend the sauce, making sure to pause every 15 seconds to release any built-up steam, until the contents are smooth.

Add the sauce and the meat back to the slow cooker

Add the meat back to the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the meat through a fine mesh sieve to strain out any solids. Use the back of a spoon to help press the sauce through. 

Cook the sauce and meat on high for another 4-5 hours. This will further break down the meat and allow it to cook thoroughly.

Shred the meat and prepare the taco toppings

Remove the meat from the slow cooker and allow it to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before shredding it. Shred it well with a fork, removing any remaining connective tissue that didn't break down. 

Finely chop the remaining onion pieces and the cilantro to use for your taco toppings. Slice the lime into wedges for serving.

Grill the tortillas in grease and crisp up the tacos

Heat a skillet or griddle on the stove. Use a spoon to skim off any extra grease from the sauce. Use this extra grease by dipping the corn tortillas into it. Start grilling the greased tortillas on the heated griddle. As the tortillas are crisping up, top them with meat and cheese and fold them in half. 

Cook both sides of the taco on the griddle, until they're golden and crispy. Then, top with onion, cilantro, and fresh lime juice before serving.

Should you have any leftovers, Rapone advises to "package the meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, make the tacos when you are ready to serve. While storing the tacos in the fridge is possible, the texture gets mushy when you try to re-heat them."

Slow Cooker Birria De Res Tacos Recipe
4.9 from 31 ratings
This slow cooker recipe for birria de res tacos may take awhile to make (that's part of the slow cooker phenomena), but their flavor is worth the wait.
Prep Time
Cook Time
garnished birria de res tacos
Total time: 8 hours, 45 minutes
  • 3 pounds chuck roast
  • 2 pounds bone-in short ribs or back ribs
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 guajillo chiles
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 16 white corn tortillas
  • 2 cups chihuahua cheese or a combination of Monterey Jack and cheddar
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime
  1. Cut the chuck roast into 6-8 pieces and cut out any large, hard chunks of fat. Place the meat on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large bowl. Add the ribs.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon salt with the cumin and black pepper. Season the meat on all sides and set aside.
  3. Cut the stems off the guajillo chiles and shake out the seeds. Heat a 10-inch dry skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the chiles to the skillet and toast them, turning frequently, until they're fragrant and toasted on all sides. Note: if more seeds fall out of the chiles as they toast, just throw them away before the next step.
  4. Cut the onion into 6 pieces and remove the peel. Place 4 pieces in the dry, hot pan and let each side cook until caramelized, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and add to your slow cooker.
  5. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, chiles, meat, and beef broth to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  6. After 3 hours, remove the meat to the baking sheet or large bowl. Remove the onions and chiles and place in a blender or food processor.
  7. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon.
  8. Pour the liquid and the rest of the ingredients from the slow cooker into a blender. Peel the garlic and add it to the blender, along with the ancho chili powder, Mexican oregano, apple cider vinegar, honey, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Use a towel to cover the opening and blend, stopping every 15 seconds to carefully lift the towel and let the steam escape. (Don't place a fully closed lid on the blender; the heat will create pressure in the blender and it can explode.)
  9. Return the meat to the slow cooker. Strain the sauce back into the slow cooker through a fine mesh sieve, using the back of a spoon to help work it all through. Discard the solids. Cook for another 4-5 hours on high, until the chuck roast registers at least 195 F when you check the largest piece with a probe thermometer.
  10. Once the meat is done cooking, turn off the slow cooker and remove the crock from the cooker and set it aside (on a towel, trivet, or cutting board, not directly on the counter).
  11. Remove the meat from the sauce. Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes, then shred it, removing any bone or fatty/connective tissue that didn't break down in the cooking process.
  12. While the meat is resting, finely chop the remaining 2 sections of white onion and the cilantro. Cut the lime into wedges.
  13. Skim excess grease off the sauce using a large spoon and place it in a bowl or small casserole dish.
  14. Heat a griddle or skillet. Dip the tortillas in the reserved grease. Place the tortilla on the griddle and top with meat and cheese. Fold the tortilla over and cook until crispy on one side. Flip and cook until crispy on the other side.
  15. Top with fresh onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Calories per Serving 527
Total Fat 34.5 g
Saturated Fat 15.9 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 131.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Total Sugars 3.2 g
Sodium 741.8 mg
Protein 37.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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